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The title “Uprooting” – “Wykorzenienie” is intended to provoke, taking us to a similar place as the Rastafarian “upliftment”; in other words, a kind of spiritual attachment emerging from the very roots of musical culture.
The music the Warsaw Village Band presents on this CD is something of a continuation of their beginnings, even though the band has changed and reinvented. “Uprooting” is extremely rich and varied: traditional Polish music is combined here with modern sounds such as scratching and dubbing.
In addition to the 2004 BBC WORLD MUSIC AWARD, their CD People’s Spring reaped outstanding reviews throughout Europe, Canada and the U.S. In the course of the twelve months since then, their schedule has been chock-full with concert dates: in France, Italy, Northern Ireland, England, Portugal, the Netherlands, Austria, Hungary, Taiwan, Pakistan, the U.S. and Canada.
“Anyone who attempts to defend music against the ravishment of showbiz deserves our vote, and this is the stated goal of the Warsaw Village Band. They are six young musicians playing traditional Polish instruments but not averse to a spot of experimentation en route. With this, their second release, they enlist a raft of collaborators, including a DJ and a choir, and the result is a fine rendition of contemporary Polish folk music with a modernist touch to the arrangements and orchestrations. Great harmony vocals backed by plucked cello, hurdy-gurdy and dulcimer, for example – some lovely ideas articulately executed.” World Music Charts Europe
Their new CD Uprooting (JARO 4261-2) was released in UK,D,A in the end of 2004 and is scheduled to appear in the U.S., Canada, France, Spain and Japan in 2005. A DVD is also on the agenda for 2006. They contributed musically to the best-selling computer game “Myst III” and are greatly in demand as partnerse for collaboration.
Even if Poland is now a member of the EU, Europeans still regard it as the unknown neighbour to the east, especially with regard to the music scene. We’ve heard of Klezmer and that’s about it.
“They” are the Warsaw Village Band, founded in 1997, the winner of the Polish radio competition “New Traditions” in 1998 before going on to celebrate its first major concert performance at the renowned Sopot Festival in 1999, where it joined such well-known artists as Goran Bregovic, the Bulgarian Voices Angelite and others. With its second CD, People’s Spring (JARO 4247-2), the band made its Western European debut. Its career took a sharp upward turn and has maintained that course ever since.
The new CD Uprooting (JARO 4161-2) is the Warsaw Village Band’s boldest venture yet. On the one hand, the ensemble invited representatives of traditional Polish folklore to join it in the recording studio; on the other hand it forged contacts with two dub-sound and scratch specialists. In view of this unusual blend of elements and epochs, the band had every reason to borrow the old Reggae hero Burning Spear’s words of wisdom as the motto for Uprooting: “Remember the past, but keep it livin’ in the future.” A perfect description of the Warsaw Village Band’s chief intentions.
What is special about – and characteristic of – the band are the trance-like rhythms of two drums and the so-called “white voices” – near-screams, primeval, clear and wild, combined with the szuka (knee-violin), cello, dulcimer, violin and hurdy-gurdy. The WVB experiments with its roots, creating an entirely new, suspense-charged relationship between the traditional and the modern. Its great love for its national musical heritage and the will to preserve the old musical traditions are the chief ingredients of its success. For the WVB, however, preservation does not mean restoration but – as in the case of “The Pogues” and “Les Negresses Vertes” – reanimation, the conveyance of the songs’ spirit into the present. So Polka gets a shot of Techno. And even if it is produced by acoustic instrumentation, the sound of WVB comes across with the force of E-powered music. Structures of minimal music are as detectable here as contact to certain rock formats. The result is a sound young people identify with, a sound that has mesmerized audiences all the way from America to Japan. While the Americans refer to it as “New Folk,” the band itself emphasizes the trance-like quality of its music.
“From village to metropolis, from untuned violins to scratch, from generation to generation, from uprooted musicians to the latest vibes, from soul to soul.” Warsaw Village Band, August 2004